Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Introducing Ford Street Publishing

Paul Collins is the publisher at Ford Street Publishing, an industry stalwart and the author of ‘around 140’ books himself. Ford Street Publishing is a micro-press that releases all manner of children’s books, from picture books to YA, with ‘no B-list’, says Collins. He spoke to Think Australian.

What makes Ford Street Publishing unique?

I’ve been in the industry since the mid 1970s. During that time I’ve worked as a proofreader, edited a great many anthologies and worked on both books for adults and younger readers. Mainly, though, I’m the author of around 140 books, published mostly by major publishers such as Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and a great many others. Bring all that experience together and I think I can say authors and illustrators get a good all-round relationship with their publisher. Micro-presses are generally unique in that there’s one person who commissions books who is answerable to no one but themselves. I don’t have to persuade a marketing team to accept a book. I don’t have to appease anyone but myself. There is no B-list with Ford Street. Everyone gets A-list treatment. I think that’s pretty unique compared with major publishers.

How many books does Ford Street publish each year—and what kinds?

Between 10 to 15 as a rule. I publish everything from picture books through to books for young adults.

Have you sold international rights to your publications?

Yes, books have sold to Korea, China, France and Germany.

Which titles have been most successful overseas?

Pool by Justin D’Ath and Crossing the Line by Dianne Bates.

Which title or author on your list do you believe deserves bigger recognition overseas?

Among my favourites are D C Green’s ‘City of Monsters’ trilogy. Every character is drawn perfectly, and the dialogue is super special. His work deserves much more attention than it receives. I’ve recently been proofreading book three, Dragon Apocalypse, and it’s the type of book you can get enjoyment from reading time and time again.

Have you acquired the rights to publish any overseas titles in Australia?

I’ve not ventured down that path. There are too many good books available here.

What will you publish next (that may appeal to international publishers)?

To borrow from D C Green’s books, ‘that’s a gnarly question’. I have just published Gabrielle Reid’s The Things We Can’t Undo. It’s contemporary and topical, with ‘consent’ being the main thread. I have no doubt that every Ford Street book would sell overseas were I to place it in front of the right editor or publisher. And that will always be the tricky part for a micro-press. There are only so many hours in a day!

 

Category: Think Australian Junior Profile